Coming off the back-to-back productions of the Best Picture-nominated West Side Story remake and semi-autobiographical drama The Fabelmans, legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg has revealed during the Berlin Film Festival that his upcoming movie slate is empty for the first time in a long time… although he does have one little project to keep him busy.
“We’re mounting a large production for HBO based on Stanley Kubrick’s original script Napoleon, working on Napoleon as a seven-part limited series,” said Spielberg, who revealed that the project is nearing a series order at the cable network after more than a decade of development alongside Kubrick’s widow Christiane Kubrick and her brother and producer Jan Harlan.
Stanley Kubrick first began developing a large-scale biopic of the French leader Napoleon Bonaparte following the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the project was ultimately cancelled due to budgetary concerns and Kubrick would go on to use much of his historical research for the project for 1975’s Barry Lyndon. Spielberg – who previously brought another of Kubrick’s planned projects A.I. Artificial Intelligence to the big screen in 2001 – then became involved in 2013, looking to adapt Kubrick’s original script as a prestige limited series.
Should HBO grant the series order, it will become the second high profile Napoleon project on the horizon after Ridley Scott’s upcoming Apple TV+ feature film, which has Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix in the title role alongside Vanessa Kirby as Empress Josephine.